Global News Journal

Beyond the World news headlines

Gaza war – Early test for Obama?

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The slow pace of talks between Hamas and Egyptian mediators on Cairo’s proposal for a Gaza ceasefire is raising speculation in Israel over whether the Islamist group is playing for time, hoping to get a better deal once Barack Obama is sworn in as U.S. president on Tuesday.

Israel also has been in no rush to call off the offensive it began on Dec. 27 with the declared aim of ending Hamas rocket attacks on its southern towns.

It now has only less than a week left to put into motion a threatened third phase of the campaign, an all-out push into densely populated Gaza cities, while its strong ally, President George W. Bush, is still in office.

The bloodshed has opened faultlines in the map of Middle East diplomacy, with the Bush administration in its final week standing behind Israel, Europe pressing Israel to call off its attacks and Arab leaders speaking out against the Jewish state.

from India Insight:

Is India playing its hand well over Mumbai?

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It has been a tense game of poker between India and Pakistan since the Mumbai attacks. On the face of it, India had the much stronger hand -- not least because it captured one of the attackers alive and got him to confess to being trained in Pakistan.

But has it played its cards well?

Some analysts say India overplayed its hand in the initial days after the attack by saying the military option remained open.

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

India – aiming for diplomatic encirclement of Pakistan?

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India is piling on the diplomatic pressure to convince the international community to lean on Pakistan to crack down on Islamist militants blamed by New Delhi for the Mumbai attacks.

According to the Times of India, "India has made it clear to the U.S. and Iran as well as Pakistan's key allies, China and Saudi Arabia, that they need to do more to use their clout to pressure Pakistan into acting..." The Press Trust of India (PTI), quoted by The Hindu, said India had used a visit by Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal to Delhi to drive home the same message.

Surviving civil war in Baghdad; from slaughter to soccer

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Posted by Aws Qusay

I left my home in Baghdad early that day, on tenterhooks as I headed to a job interview for which I had been preparing for weeks.

It was July 2006, five months after the bombing of a revered Shi’ite shrine unleashed a wave of sectarian killing in Iraq. Only the day before, my neighbourhood in southwestern Baghdad was rocked by a huge bomb that destroyed a local mosque.

Georgia’s day of prayer: who can save country now?

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Georgia’s President Mikheil Saakashvili speaks during his televised address in Tbilisi, August, 26, 2008. Saakashvili rejected as “completely illegal” a Russian decision on Tuesday to recognise Georgia’s two rebel regions as independent states.At the security checkpoint on the way in to Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili’s chancellery building, two small posters are displayed.    

“Stop Russia,” says the first. The second is a quotation from British World War Two leader Winston Churchill: “Never, never, never give up.”

Fears of conflict as tensions rise around the Black Sea

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The US Coast Guard Cutter Dallas is seen docked at the Georgia’s Black Sea port of Batumi August 27, 2008. The US Coast Guard Cutter Dallas unloaded aid hygiene kits and baby food for the tens of thousands displaced by the confrontation that erupted on Aug. 7-8 over Georgia’s breakaway South Ossetia region.Tension is mounting around the Black Sea following Russia’s recognition of two Georgian regions, South Ossetia and Abkhazia, as independent states.  

Russia said its navy was monitoring ”the build-up of NATO forces in the Black Sea area” as the U.S. Navy shipped humanitarian supplies to Georgia on Wednesday.

What’s next in the Russia-West crisis over Georgia?

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South Ossetian servicemen fire their weapons and wave South Ossetian (C) and Russian flags as they celebrate Russia's recognition of their state as an independent state in Tskhinvali August 26, 2008. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev announced on Tuesday that Moscow had decided to recognise two rebel regions of Georgia as independent states, setting it on a collision course with the West. REUTERS/Sergei KarpukhinThe people of South Ossetia and Abkhazia were celebrating on Tuesday after Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree recognising the independence of the two regions. 

Western leaders responded with harsh words. U.S. President George W. Bush said it increased world tensions and Britain called for “the widest possible coalition against Russian aggression in Georgia,” where the two regions lie. 

Vital role in Georgia crisis for…Italy?

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Putin and Berlusconi in Sardinia in AprilDid Italy unwittingly trigger the crisis in South Ossetia and then play a central role in stopping it? It may not be the view in most of the world but you could come to that conclusion from reading some Italian papers.

First, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili was quoted in a report by French intellectual Bernard-Henri Levy on Wednesday, which was reproduced in full on the front page and pages 2 and 3 of Corriere della Sera, as saying that he was first alerted to the situation in South Ossetia by reports in the Italian press that he saw while on a dieting holiday in Italy.

Georgia: How close did Europe come to a wider war?

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ferdinand.jpgA poster at the entrance to the World War One exhibition at London’s Imperial War Museum depicts the heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, minutes before they were shot dead as they toured the streets of Sarajevo in an open topped car. The two bullets triggered World War One. Alliances quickly came into play and an argument between Austria and Serbia drew in Russia, Germany, France, Belgium and Britain.

Europe was at war.

On August 8 this year Russia sent its forces into Georgia to repel Tbilisi’s attempt to wrest control of the pro-Russian, breakaway region South Ossetia. Georgia, like Ukraine, has been pressing to join NATO but has only been promised membership of the alliance at an unspecified future date. What would have happened if Georgia had already secured NATO membership, as it wished, at the alliance’s meeting in Bucharest back in April?

U.S. invasion of Iraq — For better or worse?

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iraq.jpg(Posted by: Khalid al-Ansary)

The Iraqi government says it is negotiating a “time horizon” with the United States for withdrawing its troops from Iraq.

That has Iraqis like me thinking back to how the Americans giraq1.jpgot here in the first place, and whether the U.S. promises of peace and democracy after the fall of Saddam Hussein five years ago have been fulfilled.

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